AirBnB: Social Impact

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AirBnB: Social Impact

The two additional programs for social impact, philanthropy, and advocacy that have been undertaken by Airbnb include Home Sharing Club and Global Citizenship Champion program.

Home Sharing Club

  • Airbnb is encouraging the invention of Home Sharing Clubs to assist owners to come together to advocate for fair home distribution laws in their communities.
  • The company has about 400 Clubs operating in communities globally.
  • The expanding "network of hosts, guests, small business owners, and local community leaders are leading the way in demonstrating how home-sharing clubs benefit neighborhoods around the world."
  • Airbnb has a group of 25,000 members on Facebook who are currently involved in the program.

Global Citizenship Champion Program

  • Airbnb launched its Global Citizenship Champion program in 2013. The program involves coordinating charitable donations to causes that are important to the local communities around the world.
  • The company's employees receive 4 hours of "paid time off every month to volunteer in their local communities."
  • In 2016, Airbnb employees logged over 17,000 hours of community service.
  • The company also partners with "different organizations within local communities, sharing office spaces with nonprofits, donating food to shelters, and donating funds received from the sale of used equipment."

Research strategy

To provide two programs for social impact, philanthropy, and advocacy that have been undertaken by Airbnb, the team started by reviewing the company's official website for any mentions of additional programs separate from the Donations Feature and The Open Homes Program. Through this approach, we found two additional philanthropy and advocacy programs undertaken by the company. Next, we conducted further research through, press releases, articles, blogs and more for additional details regarding the positive impact the programs have on the society. Unfortunately, there were limited details on the impact of these programs on the society. The team also tried to confirm if there were other social impact, philanthropy, and advocacy that have been undertaken by Airbnb; hence the ones found did not disclose their impact on the society. We confirmed that these were the only programs undertaken by the company in addition to the ones founded in the first research.
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AirBnB: Social Impact - Initiatives

Airbnb strives to leverage its unique assets for social good. Some initiatives, programs, or projects by Airbnb that are geared towards social entrepreneurship include the Global Citizenship Champion Program, Global Volunteerism, and Open Homes Program.

Global Citizenship Champion Program

Global Volunteerism

Open Homes Program

Research Strategy

To find information about initiatives, programs, or projects by Airbnb that are geared towards social entrepreneurship, the research team consulted trusted articles, websites, blogs, and reports. An initiative, program, or project was considered to be geared towards social entrepreneurship if it directly supports Airbnb’s social responsibility. From these resources, Global Citizenship Champion Program, Global Volunteerism, and Open Homes Program were identified as initiatives, programs, or projects by Airbnb that are geared towards social entrepreneurship.

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AirBnB: Social Impact - Partners

Three partners that Airbnb has relied on to provide social impact are the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF), Bill Wilson Center/San Jose State University/City of San Jose, and Slow Food.

Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF)

  • AirBnB announced on October 21, 2019, a partnership with the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF), which is an NGO in India.
  • Through the partnership, "Airbnb and PDKF will create two social impact experiences that promote local culture and the unique handicrafts that local women of Rajasthan [India] create with meticulous attention to detail. Airbnb will donate all profits made from these two experiences to PDKF."
  • The main objective of the partnership is to "create social impact experiences to promote culture and unique handicrafts made by local women of Rajasthan", which is a state within India.
  • More specifically, the premise of the partnership "is to increase the network of homestays and unique accommodations in Rajasthan available on the Airbnb platform while also promoting micro-entrepreneurship among rural women by providing them skill-development training and turning them into ideal hosts."
  • Airbnb "will help PDKF’s members become Airbnb hosts by sharing their homes or passions with guests coming in from all over the world."
  • Through the partnership, "Airbnb will support select PDKF initiatives under Project Shiksha Diya, including providing financial aid to its Digital Scholarship Program" and supporting digital literacy and education programs for young women run by PDKF.

Bill Wilson Center/San Jose State University/City of San Jose

  • In 2019, Airbnb partnered with the Bill Wilson Center, San Jose State University, and the City of San Jose to help provide homeless students at San Jose State University with temporary housing at no cost.
  • In 2018, it was determined that among students at San Jose State University, 13% of them were homeless, which equates to over 4,000 students.
  • The following is a succinct synopsis of how the partnership worked: "Through the partnership, the Bill Wilson Center can reserve and pay for rooms on behalf of students who need help through Airbnb for Work, which is typically used by businesses to reserve space for employees, and Airbnb will refund the host and guest booking fees to the center. Students will be able to stay for a few days or weeks while the center helps them secure longer-term, stable housing."
  • This partnership was described as "[t]he first of its kind in the nation."
  • Through its programs, the "Bill Wilson Center provides services to more than 4,100 children, youth, young adults and families in Santa Clara County [California]." The organization "reach[es] more than 30,000 clients through . . . [its] Street Outreach and crisis line programs." The organization's programs assist with housing, counseling, advocacy, and education.
  • Prior to the partnership, most of the university's efforts to help homeless students were long-range plans, such as dormitories. Thus, Airbnb played an important role by offering short-term housing arrangements for the homeless students.

Slow Food

  • Airbnb recently "launched a global partnership" with the organization Slow Food.
  • The goal of the partnership is "to promote sustainable tourism."
  • "Slow Food . . . [is] a grassroots organization whose mission is to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions."
  • Through the partnership, Airbnb and Slow Food work in tandem "to deliver social impact experiences[,] . . . [which, in this case, means] experiences hosted by non-profit organizations that connect travelers (and locals) to their cause."
  • As part of the partnership, "Airbnb waves its 20% fee to Slow Food. "
  • The people who host the culinary experiences offered through the partnership are called Social Impact Experience Hosts. Through the partnership's social impact focus, those hosts are "able to connect guests with . . . [their] mission and present . . . [their] projects to the world."
  • The partnership spans over 75 countries and features more than 3,000 culinary recipes.
  • Guests who participate in the partnership by dining with the Social Impact Experience Hosts not only support those hosts, but also "help Slow Food implement projects worldwide to empower local communities, promote artisan farmers and producers, and support school gardens and education projects."
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AirBnB: Social Impact 1

The social problem that Airbnb was created to solve is economic empowerment. A secondary social problem that Airbnb has been solving, though it wasn't necessarily created to do so, is temporary housing for those in need. We couldn't find any recognitions that Airbnb has received for its social purpose/impact with regard to either social problem, so we instead provided information showing the reach of the company's efforts in addressing both social problems.

Economic Empowerment

1. How It's Solving the Problem

  • Economic empowerment is the social problem that Airbnb was created to solve.
  • That economic empowerment agenda was present in Airbnb's earliest days (at the time, the company was named AirBed and Breakfast), when the company's co-founders (Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky) "host[ed] the first guest . . . to make rent money."
  • The company describes itself as "an economic empowerment engine."
  • A 2020 Forbes article explained that "empowerment is a key to how the enterprise [Airbnb] operates."
  • Airbnb drives economic empowerment worldwide, as it "has helped millions of hospitality entrepreneurs monetize their spaces and their passions while keeping the financial benefits of tourism in their own communities" through local businesses.
  • Airbnb's agenda for economic empowerment seeks "to help predominantly minority communities leverage homes to generate income. That agenda also makes strong commitments to living wages for not only Airbnb team members but vendors as well. Moreover, that economic empowerment agenda encourages hosts in the Airbnb community to pay a living wage to those that support their respective businesses . . . [such as] cleaners or other hosts who cover for them when they’re on vacation."
  • In furtherance of its economic empowerment mission, Airbnb requests that its hosts pay individuals "who clean their homes at least $15 per hour."

2. Impact/Results

  • To quantify the reach of Airbnb's economic empowerment mission, over 500 million guests have booked with Airbnb "across 220+ countries and regions."
  • Among Airbnb hosts, 81% share their homes with Airbnb guests/customers, meaning the hosts live in their homes during their guests' stays.
  • Over half (52%) of Airbnb hosts have "low to moderate income."
  • Among Airbnb hosts, 53% "say that hosting helped them stay in their home", as hosting provided them with the financial resources to pay their mortgage/rent.
  • Among Airbnb hosts' income, 48% "is used to pay for regular household expenses" such as groceries/rent, thus demonstrating the necessity and importance of the income they receive from hosting.

Temporary Housing

  • A secondary social problem that Airbnb has been solving, though the company was not necessarily created to do so, is temporary housing for those in need.
  • Airbnb is solving the social problem of temporary housing for those in need through its Open Homes program.
  • Through Airbnb's Open Homes problem, Airbnb hosts can offer their homes "for free to people in need of temporary housing."
  • Open Homes provides temporary housing to those in need for three situations: Medical stays for people receiving healthcare treatments away from home, refugee housing that's "coordinated by refugee relief organizations on behalf of their clients", and disaster relief.
  • Airbnb's Open Homes program has provided temporary housing to more than 40,000 individuals.
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AirBnB: Social Impact - Activations

Two examples of Airbnb’s customer activation campaigns geared toward social responsibility are the Social Experience Campaign and the We Accept Campaign. The first of these focuses on supporting awareness and fund-raising efforts of nonprofit organizations that partner with the company, and the second focuses on increasing awareness, acceptance, tolerance, and peace among people of all ethnicities, genders, orientations, and religions.

Airbnb’s Social Impact Experience Hosting

  • Launched in 2016, Airbnb’s Experiences Campaign expanded the company’s hospitality sector footprint by providing never-before-offered access “to local communities and interests through 15,000+ unique, handcrafted activities run by hosts across 1000+ markets around the world.” This program has had a significant ROI for Airbnb, and has blown up the company’s Instagram profile, the primary social media channel for the company’s target travel demographic (18 – 30 year olds).
  • Overall, the Experiences Campaign resulted in a “13-point lift in ad recall,” and a 3-point lift in association of Airbnb enabling travelers to book experiences." The company also has seen nearly 21,000 hashtag-connections on Instagram posts so far.
  • Airbnb hosts also can sign up to host Social Impact Experiences, which are an off-shoot of their overall Experiences Campaign, specifically focusing on social responsibility through the support of nonprofits. TechSoup notes that these experiences are used to “promote causes, build awareness, and raise funds,” as well as being a strong way to engage potential supporters. They note that these experiences engage guests with interactive activities that benefit the nonprofit, are often used to “education, inform, and enlighten” others, and are often fun ways to connect guests “to your cause in a social setting while introducing them to the broader community.”
  • Hosted events are based on the nonprofit’s schedule, are hosted at their locations of choice, and for their preferred price-points. Hosts must represent a nonprofit organization (as designated/confirmed by TechSoup, an Airbnb partner), must have consent of the organization, and must be fully involved in the organization’s work.
  • Religious groups are not allowed to host unless their events are non-sectarian and are open to those of any faiths; the same goes for organization allowing any kind of discrimination within their ranks based on “religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other issues of diversity(even where these practices are permitted by local laws). Additionally, political/lobbying organizations are banned from participating, as are some advocacy groups, mutual benefit organizations, and sororities/fraternities.
  • Airbnb waives all their fees for Social Impact Experience events so that all proceeds go directly to the hosting nonprofits. A quick look into their current offerings of these experiences shows everything from puppy cuddling experiences to taking care of manatees to living with the Mentawai Jungle tribe and more. Categories include Nature & Wildlife, Arts & Culture, Around the World, and Nearby Experiences, though it isn’t clear if these are the only categories available at this time.

Airbnb’s We Accept Campaign

  • Airbnb’s We Accept Campaign began in 2017 in response to public allegations that “some of its hosts were discriminating against guests” based on their gender or race. The We Accept Campaign was founded on the principle of non-discrimination, and was used to “underpin Airbnb’s long-held values of community-led and culturally-diverse travel.”
  • At the time of the launch, the Syrian refugee crisis was underway, which made this campaign especially poignant. This campaign emphasized the company’s “efforts to offer short-term housing for anyone in need,” including those fleeing natural disasters, refugees from war-torn regions, and others.
  • The campaign launched during the 2017 Super Bowl with a simple video that combined live photo collages with soft, melancholic background music, and a voiceover describing “the positive impact diversity has on the world.” The video focused on encouraging viewers to accept all people, no matter the color of their skin, their ethnic origins, their gender, where they’re from, whom they worship, or whom they love. The powerfully-moving result struck a chord with their customer base, and the campaign went viral.
  • The results of the campaign were overwhelming, though it was a mix of both positive and negative reactions from the public. During the first half of the Super Bowl alone (just after the campaign aired), “there were 33,000 tweets about the ad.” This campaign represented a direct CTA (call-to-action) for public support and volunteers to provide space in their homes for “displaced populations.”
  • The ad earned the company “thousands of sign-ups,” as well as significant online praise for their social responsibility efforts.
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AirBnB: Social Impact - Media

Three news about Airbnb's social impact and philanthropy efforts are the ones about 1) how nonprofits have benefited from the Social Impact Experiences program, about the 2) new Animal Experiences programs, and the company's recent 3) donations to New York's nonprofits.

1. Nonprofit Organizations Benefit from Airbnb's Social Impact Experiences

  • In March 2019, Airbnb announced that it would be taking new measures to increase the number of Social Impact Experiences.
  • Airbnb's Social Impact Experiences Social Impact Experiences with nonprofit organizations to help them increase their revenues through tourism and events.
  • Airbnb partners with nonprofit organizations that host the Social Impact Experiences events, to help them increase their revenues through tourism.
  • In the Netherlands, for example, the company has seven Social Impact Experiences.
  • “Plastic Fishing in Amsterdam,” an experience focused on the environment, allows Airbnb visitors to travel through the Amsterdam waters fishing for plastic on a boat made from Amsterdam Canal Plastic. Almost 500 guests have joined this experience, raising over €10,000 for the nonprofit organization, Plastic Whale.
  • Marius Smit, Founder of Plastic Whale, said that thanks to Airbnb, their number of bookings has increased, allowing the organization to involve tourists in their mission of keeping Amsterdam's waters clean of plastic.
  • Airbnb is committed to hosting more events and workshops in the Netherlands to help charities and nonprofits benefit and learn about their Social Impact Experiences program. Additionally, 100% of the service fees generated by Airbnb through Social Impact Experiences are given directly to the nonprofit, helping them generate additional revenue.
  • Airbnb also partnered with the Van Gogh Heritage Foundation of Brabant and launched three Social Impact Experiences, including a tour through Van Gogh's famous places, to help the organization gain more revenue and attract tourism.
  • Airbnb's General Manager of Northern Europe, Hadi Moussa, said that Airbnb's Social Impact Experiences are not only helping these organizations raise funds, but are also the awareness of different social causes, and increasing tourism in lesser-known areas.
  • Since the release of Airbnb Experiences in 2016, the company has created more than 30,000 Experiences globally. Nonprofit organizations have been connected to more than 65,000 people and generated almost €4 million for Nonprofit organizations.

2. New Airbnb Animal Experiences

  • In October 2019, Airbnb announced the creation of Airbnb Animal Experiences. This new category of Airbnb Experiences has 1,000 Experiences focused on animal tourism to help people understand and take care of animals.
  • Through Airbnb Animal Experiences, people can connect with the animals and participate in different activities, from observing them to adventuring with them, like hiking with rescue dogs, discover arctic foxes, cuddling cows, rescuing puppies in Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, etc.
  • Airbnb expanded its commitment with humankind and decided to also help protect animals, partnering with World Animal Protection and The Dodo to ensure the animals' welfare in every experience, and proper social engagement for the organizations.
  • The hosts of each Animal Experience are caring experts that take ethical concerns seriously and the experience is designed to help people understand animals better, foster empathy, and scale impact.
  • The company also created a policy to protect animals through each experience, which includes not feeding, riding, or petting the animals; not overworking them; not captivating marine mammals, big cats, or elephants for entertainment; not making trophy hunting; making responsible traveling; etc.
  • More than 100 Airbnb Animal Experiences work with their Social Impact Experiences, directing all revenue to nonprofits to support animal rescue, conservation, veterinary care, etc.

3. Donation to New York Nonprofits

  • In October 2019, Airbnb donated $10 million to seven nonprofit organizations in New York.
  • The organizations were the Abyssinian Development Corporation, New York Immigration Coalition, the NYC Foundation for Computer Science, the New York Mortgage Coalition, the Gay Men's Health Crisis, the New York State Rural Housing Coalition, and Women in Need.
  • This donation was made as a response to the bill proposed by Linda B. Rosenthal that would make it illegal to rent an apartment for less than a month, and other bills that want to regulate the use of Airbnb in New York.
  • Through this donation, Airbnb wanted to prove to the New York State the benefit their company represents for its citizens and how the taxes they pay could be put to good use if the state wanted.

Social Impact Insights from Airbnb's Founders

  • Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb, considers that his focus as a leader is empowering the communities, reason why the company's vision is to help social ecosystems and struggling communities benefit from tourism, generating more income and jobs.
  • Chesky has always demonstrated strong values and a desire to contribute to the communities, creating the application as a way to help people with insufficient rent money.
  • He wants the product to be sustainable and he wants to be a social leader.
  • Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder of Airbnb, said that the company's goal is to have a positive impact, and is committed to investing more than $100 million on local initiatives in the next 10 years.
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AirBnB

Airbnb raised a total of $4.8 billion in funding and has $3.6 billion in revenue for FY 2018. The company provides a marketplace for individuals to rent out their homes or rooms to people in need of temporary accommodation.

  • Airbnb is a privately-held company that provides hospitality services and an online marketplace. The company allows customers to hire or rent short term accommodation, including holiday rentals, apartment rentals, houses, hostel beds, and hotel rooms via its websites and mobile apps.
  • The company was founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States.
  • Estimates indicate that the company has about 14,213 employees.
  • Airbnb provides a marketplace for people looking for accommodations to rent an entire house, a private room or a shared room on a short-term rental basis provided by a local host.

Locations

  • Airbnb has 31 office locations across 21 countries. The offices are in United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • It services are offered in over 220 countries and regions in the world. A list of some of the countries can be found here.

Financials

  • Airbnb has received a total of $4.8 billion in funding across ten founding rounds.
  • The company first raised a seed funding round of $20,000 in January 2009. It's last funding was an undisclosed funding round of $25.9 million in August 2019.
  • For FY 2018, Airbnb generated revenue of $3.6 billion, a 38.5% increase from its 2017 revenue.
  • Airbnb has a market valuation of $35 billion.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Airbnb employees receive four hours of paid time off every month to volunteer in their local communities.[1] Global Citizenship Champion program launched in 2013 involves organizing charitable contributions to causes important to their local communities in 20 cities around the world Champions within the scope of the Global Citizenship Champion program completed more than 17000 hours of service in 2016."
Quotes
  • "Airbnb employees receive four hours of paid time off every month to volunteer in their local communities. Our host communities are regularly invited to volunteer alongside our employees, too. In 2013, we launched our Global Citizenship Champion program so we can be good neighbors in the cities we have offices. Our Champions organize volunteer activities for employees and hosts, lead charitable drives and make charitable contributions to causes important to their local communities in 20 cities around the world. The Champions have helped the Airbnb community complete over 17,000 hours of service in 2016."
Quotes
  • "Airbnb would like to legitimize itself in New York amid rising concerns about its effect on local affordable housing stocks, so it has put its heft behind a bill in the state legislature that would allow Airbnb to collect taxes from guests like hotels do, which it believes would relieve some of the pressure short-term rentals cause. Following on efforts to partner with the NAACP last month, Airbnb committed yesterday to donating $10 million to a group of local NYC nonprofits. "
Quotes
  • "Airbnb is supporting the creation of Home Sharing Clubs to help hosts come together to advocate for fair home sharing laws in their communities. We now have more than 400 Clubs operating in communities around the world. This growing network of hosts, guests, small business owners, and local community leaders is leading the way in demonstrating how home sharing benefits neighborhoods around the world."
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